Melton Hockey Club First XI returned to winning ways on Saturday, making it six points out of nine as they look to finish the season strongly.
With the bare eleven available for an away fixture against the East Midlands Premier’s bottom side, there was a chance complacency and fitness could lead to dropped points in a must-win game.
But the Reds managed to force the issue from the first minute, in a match they went on to dominate.
Melton pegged back the hosts with Sibun released several times down the right by smart combinations between Hewitt, Cramphorn, and Taylor.
Short corner after short corner was won, and when Kendall’s goalbound deflection was stopped on the line, Brown was there to smuggle the ball over the line.
It was Brown’s first Melton goal having only converted to the sport from competitive angling two years ago.
The game looked comfortable for Melton, so it was almost inevitable they would let their lead slip.
A loss in concentration allowed Newark to win a series of penalty corners, which eventually led to a scrappy equaliser.
Thankfully the hosts were just as sloppy, allowing Kendall to charge down a clearance and square the ball to Taylor who slotted home to restore the lead.
Moments before half-time the scores could have been level again without Henson’s double save on the line - the second a particularly impressive effort high above his head.
It was a critical moment in the game, as seconds later a break by Melton saw Sibun find Kendall in the area, who knocked the ball past the keeper at the second attempt. At 3-1, Melton looked on top at the break.
Showing some good game management in the second half, the visitors continued to control things, even if they were a little wasteful with their final ball in the last third.
The fourth goal finally came from the penalty spot, after Hewitt’s goalbound shot had been stopped by a foot on the line. Taylor stepped up to casually dispatch the penalty into the top corner.
More goals could easily have followed, but Melton only made it 5-1 when Kendall deflected Taylor’s pass past the keeper, again at the second attempt.
A confidence-boosting win for the Reds, ready for their return to home duties on Saturday against third-placed Derwent (12.30pm start).